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BLN FY24 Annual Election


Fiscal Year 2024 Election Cycle

(Sept 1, 2023 through August 31, 2024)


See Election Schedule:

Online Voting 
April 18th – 21st | Voting will take place online. The Elections Committee will be sending additional information for all those BLN eligible voters.  

FY24 BLN Open Positions

Executive Committee Officer Candidate

Office of the President: Executive Committee Officer (Two-Year Term)


Debbie Samuels 

I am Debbie Samuels, Director, UH System Enterprise Security Projects. I have been employed with the University of Houston for twelve years in the UHS Information Security Department.

Thanks for the opportunity to have served as the BLN President for fiscal years 2019 – 2021, 2021 – 2022 and 2022 – 2023. It has been an amazing opportunity for me personally and professionally with great benefits and rewards. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most amazing Black faculty, staff and students across the UH System. I have seen how BLN has grown its membership, goals and initiatives and am honored to have been a part of the many accomplishments and successes.

I reiterate the fact, that we are definitely living in interesting and uncertain times. We have weathered through and continue to work through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and learning how to get back to work in the workplace instead of the home or a flexible and hybrid blend of both to meet our personal and professional needs.

Although there have been many challenges, I am very proud to announce that The Black Leadership Network had another very productive year and we are looking forward to more opportunities to serve our faculty, staff,  students and the community if I am elected for the next two years. BLN’s mission statement is to “Support and celebrate the inclusion and progress of UH System Black faculty, staff, students, alumni and community.” I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work towards the BLN mission.

Office of the Secretary: Executive Committee Officer (Two-Year Term)

No nominations accepted

Office of Parliamentarian: Executive Committee Officer (Two-Year Term

No nominations accepted

Office of the Treasurer: Executive Committee Officer (One-Year Term)

No nominations accepted

Board of Directors Nominations 

Board Position #12 Director At-Large | Board Director Any UH System University Employee (Three-Year Term)

No nominations accepted

Board Position #13 Director At-Large | Board Director Any UH System University Employee (Three-Year Term)


 Myra Conley 

I am a former Assistant Dean of Students serving students in that capacity for 31 years. I recently retired from the University of Houston after the completion of a total of 37 years.

I have maintained my connection with the university as a member of the BLN Board of Directors and a UH alumni life member. 

During my time at UH, I have been a member of the Black Leadership Network, Inc. since its inception in the 80's and was a board member at the time of the incorporation.

Over the years I have had an opportunity to serve in various capacities including the student affairs committee chairperson, scholarship committee member, treasurer, vice president, president and board member.

I plan to continue to support the efforts of BLN, Inc. in providing a venue for networking and the development of professional staff and faculty through the sharing of information. I believe we exist to work collectively to seek ways to serve the students and our campus community.

Board Position #14 Director At-Large | Board Director Any UH System University Employee (Three-Year Term)

Elwyn C. Lee, J.D. 
Vice President for Neighborhood and Strategic Initiatives, University of Houston

Dr. Elwyn C. Lee grew up in the historic Third Ward of Houston, Texas attending public schools: Blackshear elementary, Miller junior high, and Yates senior high. His last two years of high school were at Phillips Academy in Andover Massachusetts, after which he attended Yale College graduating magna cum laude. Following Yale Law School Lee joined Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale), a prestigious large firm in Washington, D.C. After three years he joined the University of Houston (UH) Law Center where he taught employment, torts, administrative, and professional responsibility law courses on the way to becoming the first tenured African-American law faculty member.

Lee then served three semesters as the interim director of the UH African American Studies program. For the next twenty years, Lee served as Vice President for Student Affairs responsible for a comprehensive array of student and enrollment services. In his current Vice Presidential role, Lee develops strategies for making UH more inclusive and is Executive Leader of the UH Third Ward Initiative, that collaborates with neighborhood stakeholders to address disparities in education, health, economic empowerment and art exposure. Following the George Floyd murder, he was appointed co-chair of the UH Racial Equity & Social Justice Committee (RESJC). Lee is active in Third Ward organizations such as the Emancipation Economic Development Council (EEDC), SHAPE Community Center, Change Happens!, the Third Ward Complete Communities, and Project Row Houses where he serves on the Board six years, the last as President. He is also Board Chair of the SURE CDFI non-profit. Other civic board memberships have been with the March of Dimes, and the Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts where he received the Silver Beaver award and his neighborhood civic association. He is married to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and they have two adult children and two grandkids.


The nominee must be:

  • An active employee at a University of Houston System campus (UH, UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown, and UH-Victoria)
  • A paid registered member of BLN prior to March 28th  (You may pay dues and register at the same time as submitting your nomination.)
  • Willing to accept the responsibility of an officer of the BLN
  • Willing to volunteer 5-7 hours a month to role responsibilities 


According to Article III Section 3.01 and 3.02 (a) of the BLN By-Laws:

Board Member Positions: Each member of the Board (each, a “Director”) shall conduct his or her duties in good faith, with ordinary care, and in a manner the Director reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the Corporation.

According to Section 5.01 (a), (c), (e) of the BLN By-Laws:

(a) President: The President shall preside at all Executive Committee meetings and shall supervise and control BLN’s operations in accordance with the policies and directives approved by the Board. The President shall serve on both the Board and the Executive Committee.

 (c) Secretary: The Secretary shall be responsible for the keeping of an accurate record of the proceedings of all the Board, Committee, and Member meetings and shall give, or cause to be given, all notices in accordance with the Bylaws or required by law. The Secretary may delegate the recording of minutes of Board meetings to the Board Liaison to the Secretary. The Secretary shall serve on the Executive Committee.

 (e) Parliamentarian: The Parliamentarian shall advise BLN as to proper parliamentary procedure. The Parliamentarian shall serve on the Executive Committee.

 (d) Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be responsible for all property of BLN. The Treasurer shall keep complete and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements of BLN, and deposit property of BLN in the name and to the credit of BLN in banks or depositories designated by the Board or Executive Committee. The Treasurer shall, when reasonable, prepare a statement of accounts and exhibit the books and accounts to any Officer or Director. The Treasurer shall serve on both the Board and the Executive Committee

Terms of Service

  • Elected Executive Officer Candidates will serve a two-year term starting September 1, 2023, thru August 31, 2025.
  • Elected Board Director Candidates will serve a three-year term starting September 1, 2023 - August 31, 2026.
  • In the event of an unforeseen position vacancy during the fiscal year, terms of service are reduced to the remaining fiscal year terms of service. 
  • Officers may serve consecutive terms.
  • Officers may not hold more than one office concurrently.

Visit BLN Website to learn more about the annual election process >

Please contact Election Committee if you have any questions regarding the nomination process. Nominees send your bio to the following email address by March 24, 2023.


Dr. Sandra Glass

Dr. Byron Ross

Thank You!

Run for BLN Office  We need YOU!

Nominate yourself or someone else today!

Please email Dr. Sandra Glass or the BLN Election Committee at  for additional information.